Rosie is a mother whose family are reduced to living in a car

Rosie REVIEW

June 22, 2020
1 min read
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Rosie REVIEW
9/10

Summary

Rosie REVIEW

Director: Paddy Breathnach

Cast: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O’Halloran, Darragh Mckenzie

Running time: 86 mins

Censor: PG, Coarse language

An enthralling and haunting film about a family who have hit hard times, Rosie has relevance to NZ’s own systemic poverty, notes TOBY WOOLLASTON.

 

 

Rosie is a mother whose family are reduced to living in a car

It wasn’t that long ago when heartbreaking stories of families living out the back of their cars hit the headlines in New Zealand. Although Rosie is set in Ireland, it’s a story that still picks at the raw nerve on New Zealand’s own housing problem.

There are hints of Ken Loach’s or Mike Leigh’s kitchen sink dramas in this moving portrait of a working-class family who have fallen on desperately hard times. But you can replace the kitchen sink with a dash-board as this film focuses on a Dublin family who live out of their car.

Rosie, played with a focussed intensity by Sarah Greene (Normal People), finds herself living from hour to hour, juggling her four children’s needs while looking for a place to stay the night. There is a palpable sense of tension created through Paddy Breathnach’s taut directing as he captures the strain of a family’s good intentions and the situation thrust upon them.

It’s a depressing subject but Rosie is not without its moments of humour

Working from a screenplay by writer Roddy Doyle (The Commitments), Breathnach’s pin-sharp drama is never manipulative or preachy, and gives a brutally honest account of their plight.

It’s not all doom and gloom, and like Loach’s Palme d’Or winning I, Daniel Blake, Rosie manages to capture little nuggets of hope and humour within the depths of the family’s desperate situation. But what sets this film apart is that it avoids the tropes common to many stories about poverty.

Nowhere is there substance or physical abuse, or mental health issues. Rather, it focuses on the systemic poverty that they fall victim to. In one scene Rosie says that her family are “not homeless, just lost. We have lost our keys.” Her heartbreaking words echo the film’s thesis on dignity and goes a long way in highlighting the negative stigma that poverty often attracts.

Not unlike social realistic director Ken Loach’s films Rosie is a must-see

Elegant and strikingly simple in its exposition, Rosie is an incredibly restrained film that hits all the right beats and leaves you with one of the more hauntingly powerful final images I’ve seen in cinema.

Toby is currently a film reviewer for the New Zealand Herald and NZME’s regional media. A film enthusiast since Alien made him shit his pants as a nine-year-old, Toby recently completed a Masters thesis on the phenomenology of the cinema of Darren Aronofsky. So he is well qualified to tell you that phenomenology is a load of boring bollocks… but Aronofsky is quite interesting.

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